The Gospel

The Gospel

Monday, January 26, 2009

Real Alternatives

Six Degrees of Separation - Nancy Pelosi and China

There was once an excitement about having a female speaker of the house.

I think that is now over.

Pelosi, making comments to ABC's "This Week", was asked how adding money to expand family services would help the economy. She responded by saying, "They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government"

Pelosi, a mother and grandmother, thinks that children are a unnecessary weight to the economy. How long will it be before our governments position is similar to that of China? How long until we are limited to only two children per home and no baby girls? How long I Lord...please come quickly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who Is Your Prayer Partner?

Russell Moore, one my favorite authors and speakers, wrote a commentary several years ago on who his prayer partner was. (here)

Scripture commands us to pray for our leaders and authorities. “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and for all those who are in authority” (1 Tim 2:1-2a HCSB)

I certainly do not agree with all of Obama's policies and views. But as Christians we are called first to honor and submit to him and others in power as unto the Lord. But we also need to pray for them.

You can pray in several ways.
1. That he will lead in a way that honors the God who put him there.
2. That he will change his views on the killing of the unborn.
3. That he will protect the innocent
4. That he will judge rightly the guilty.
5. That he will protect our rights to meet freely to worship
6. That he will have integrity and honesty in all his dealings
7. That he will be faithful to his wife.
8. That he will love and care for his children.
9. That he will come to know Jesus Christ as His King and Savior.

Attention getting bumper stickers, crude jokes and inappropriate comments about his character do not honor Christ.

Praying for the president does. Will you pray for Obama?

Obama is like Joshua?

President Obama seems like a nice man. I would imagine that he is a kind husband and a good father to his children. But some of the accolades and praise that came yesterday caught my attention.

The famed boxing promoter Don King said, "Barack Obama is similar to the Biblical character of Joshua...going across to the promised land."

Singer Smokey Robinson said, “There are so many Biblical figures who had the same task...”

Denzel Washington: “The apostle Paul, Moses, John the Baptist – any one of them. Seriously, he is like one of those apostles for our day. He came to lead us to the original design of what we are supposed to do on this earth.”

Oprah, Jay-Z and others - "Obama has changed my life, he makes me want to be a better person." By the sound of it, Jesus really should have taken a some pointers from the acclaimed politician.

The reason these comments make so much sense to those saying them is that they don't understand the point of the Bible, the prophets, and the apostles at all. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah whom Joshua was a picture, and Moses, David, Zerubbabel, and countless others. But there is also great confusion as to the purpose of God's plan in Jesus as well. Many believe Jesus didn't come to deal with sin and separation and death and our status as being enemies of God, to die on the cross, be raised from the dead and exalted as the King of Kings. For many Jesus is a picture of oppression, an example of sacrifice, a guy to follow, a revolutionary politician who wants life to be easy for us.

As Christians, we need to return our source of Godly wisdom and insight to the scriptures, not to celebrities. We need to remember that there was a Man who was a lot like Joshua, who actually had the same Hebrew name. He has already come, he has already made it to the promised land, he has already conquered sin, oppression, hatred, evil, death and Satan himself and one day he will lead those who know Him to the promised land as well. What is more, he is returning...and trust one will confuse Obama or anyone else with the exalted Yeshua when he makes his appearance. I hope He will change the lives of people in this country through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I just hope that Oprah and Denzel will recognize Him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration of a new...Church?

Is It Unpatriotic To Be Disappointed Today?

It began on Friday...and continues today. The inauguration celebration for Mr. Obama is in full force today. Would you consider me unpatriotic if I am not one of the millions who are celebrating?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the historical moment of an African American becoming president. Certainly it is an achievement that none thought possible. But I see schools having parties, people singing songs, men and women saying that they now have hope. Is Obama becoming president or is he the Messiah?

You see I am not pleased today because this man who apparently brings hope for the living brings fear to the babies in wombs by being in favor of abortion on demand and likely repealing the partial birth abortion ban.

I am not pleased as an American because I read yesterday how schools, newspapers, and work places are stifling the constitution by excluding criticism of the new president {I hope the ACLU has seen these atrocities}. I am unhappy because Obama would rather stand in opposition to protecting the Defense of Marriage Act than on the Biblical authority. I am concerned because his brand of Christianity is decidedly different from the Biblical witness and he will become the representative of Christianity and religious pluralism coming together.

I am alarmed as I watch men and women of the church throw praise and glory on a man that is reserved only for the God/Man Jesus Christ.

But I am also Joyful. Joyful because my future does not lie in the hands of President Obama but in the hands of King Jesus. Joyful because my hope is not in the triumphal entry of President Obama but in the triumphal re-entry of King Jesus. Joyful because the thing that will change the world is not Obama and a singing children's choir but rather King Jesus and a choir of multitudes of Angels declaring His arrival.

So today call me me un-American. You may not be that far off. You see I am a citizen of a more glorious Kingdom. I am a follower of a more glorious leader. I pledge allegiance to a more beautiful flag. No, I am not unpatriotic, I just don't believe that this kind of praise is worthy of this particular man.

"Worthy is the Lamb, seated on the throne
We crown you now with many crowns, you reign victorious.
You are high and lifted up, Jesus Son of God
The darling of Heaven Crucified...Worthy is the Lamb."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let's Stand Together

The Apostle Paul exhorts the church in Philippians chapter 4 to help two women over come discord and disunity for the sake of the church.

A splintered church is a weak church. Paul calls out the people involved, identifies the problem and encourages assistance in reconciling. Why does such an issue take such a prominent role in this letter. After all, it is not uncommon for people to fight and argue.

Reconciliation, repentance, and forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel. We are reconciled to God through the substitutionary death of Christ, we repent and turn from our sin and look to Christ, God forgives us and we are part of his family. As Christians we should be practicing this pattern in all of our relationships, but especially in the church. We must be showing and living out the gospel in our lives. To have anger, bitterness, and an unforgiving spirit is not only spiritually immature, it is also opposed to Christ. We are told in scripture that if we will not forgive, God will not forgive us.

Are there people in your life that you need to reconcile with?
Do you need to ask for forgiveness or grant it to someone who has wronged you?
Let's stand together and show the world what the Gospel is all about by forgiving one another and restoring them to relationship as individuals, as families and as a church.

Hail King Obama

I have been observing the headlines preparing us for the presidential inauguration.

Here are some of them: "OBAMATHON: THE CONCERTS, THE SPEECHES, THE PARTIES, THE HOPE..."; "He can save us!"; "Barack Obama has only four years to save the world.... ".

As a Christian this kind of rhetoric concerns me greatly. The Media, the Left, and now many in the church are giving Obama the kind of attention and status that was once only reserved for King Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I hope Obama succeeds in being a great president. I hope he leads our country well. I also hope that he changes his views on abortion, life, homosexuality and more.

But Obama can not save us. Obama can not save the world. Obama can not even save himself. After watching the film Valkyrie this weekend, I have a sense of concern over making one man so great, so big, so messianic. The only place he can go is down...He hasn't taken office yet, he hasn't signed one bill, he hasn't made one policy change...and he is already the great American Hope.

God help us to only put our hope in Jesus: For our future, for our life, for salvation, for our world. Hail King Jesus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do What I Do and What I Say

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. In the church imitation is vital to a vibrant walk with Christ. In Paul's letter to the Philippian church he encouraged the church to follow the example of Jesus Christ - His humility, self-sacrifice, selfless love, and self-giving attitude.

But at the conclusion of chapter 3, Paul again urges the church to imitate - to imitate Paul and those who follow in the likeness of Christ. Paul is not encouraging the exaltation of people or trying to put himself on a pedestal. But he is emphasizing the vital importance of the example of godly people and how we should be encouraged to imitate their zeal, commitment and love for Jesus Christ.

Who are you seeing and imitating in your Christian walk? Who is influencing you? This is a very important question for those who want to become more like Christ.

But also ask yourself who are you influencing? Are you living a life that is a testimony to others of the grace of God in your life and the amazing transformation of the power of the Holy Spirit. Or are you actually leading people away from the Gospel, away form the Church, away from Christ.

What Does "Christianity" mean anymore?

Christianity has always had its detractors and opponents. It used to be mainly from other religions, outsiders or simply atheists. But more and more the greatest opponents of Christianity are actually..."Christians" or at least those who would call them that.

There is no greater example than that of Gene Robinson, a gay Episcopal priest. He has been selected to offer the invocation at one of the inaugural celebrations for Barrack Obama. You can read about his view right here.

Let's pray for Gene Robinson, that he would find forgiveness at the Cross of Christ. Let's pray for our country that people would trust in Christ alone as Savior. Let us also pray for our churches that we would be free from this kind of false teaching, compromise, heretics and enemies of the cross that are disguised as angles of light and workers of righteousness.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolutions, Renewals and Resolve

Each new year we often sit down and reflect on the twelve months prior and look to make changes to our life and patterns. Most often we make this analysis on our own and list our top 3 areas of change.

The Bible tells us that we are deceptively wicked and given the chance we won't accurately look at our lives and hearts. In Philippians 3, Paul reminds us that we are tempted to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We may conclude that we have arrived, that we are perfect, that there is no more work left to be done. Paul left to his own abilities might have come to this conclusion as well. But the Holy Spirit had convicted and convinced Paul that there was still something left to be done.

This year I would encourage you to make resolutions a different way. First, Rather than making them yourself, ask a close friend or fellow follower of Christ what areas they think you need to grow in. Give them permission to be honest and open so that you are not deceived. Second, read through passages of scripture (Fruits of the Spirit, Proverbs 31, etc.) and see what areas Scripture illuminates for you that you could grow in. Third, resolve this year to pursue Christ more diligently and feverishly. That may mean casting aside habits and patterns that get in the way. It may mean cancelling your cable or cancelling your season tickets. Fourth, look for ways to renew your enthusiasm for the advancement of the Gospel in love for the lost and the love for the church. Paul said, let us press on for the prize. Are you running...are you crawling....have you stopped....Press on...

Now is the time for a fresh start...a new exciting Journey.

The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)